On a recent trip that took us through Scranton, PA, I had an awesome dish that the menu called “Lebanese Fried Rice.” It was brown rice, chickpeas, walnuts, and some vegetables, and it was a perfect lunch. I loved it, and thought that it would make a simple, hearty side dish for the blog, though I thought I’d alter it a bit for my own tastes.
So here’s my take on that dish. It would be a great side dish with any protein or with a salad. The original salad had red bell peppers in it, but I’m not a big fan of them, so I left them out here. This dish does contain walnuts. You could leave them out, but it is a major flavor component and the dish would be a bit bland without.
Mediterranean Fried Rice
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 bunch of scallions, sliced finely, green and whites separated
- 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 can or 16 oz. cooked chickpeas
- 3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice (I use brown jasmine rice for almost everything)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 2 cups chopped spinach
In a skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts. Don’t leave them — I burn so many nuts this way. Wait until they become fragrant, and then remove them from the heat. Reserve to the side.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the white parts of the scallions to the skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes. Then add the chickpeas, stirring well.
Finally, add the rice. Stir well and add another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil — you want a light coat of olive oil over the whole dish.
Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the rice is heated through. Add the rest of the scallions* and the spinach, along with the salt. Stir well, and cook until the spinach is wilted.
Serve topped with the walnuts.
*If you like a stronger onion flavor, reserve half the green bits to add raw, when serving.